Cranberry Coconut Granola Bars

I’m excited to share this recipe for homemade granola bars. I tried making granola bars once before using an Ina Garten recipe, but my family didn’t like them very much. The recipe I had tried before had honey as a main binding ingredient and the flavor was just too overpowering.

I searched the internet for granola bar recipes to get a feel for them. The method that looked best to me was from Food Network, by Alton Brown. I adapted my recipe from his, changing several ingredients the most important of which was the honey. I opted to use corn syrup (white Kayro) to give my granola bars a light flavor and make them very crisp. No problem with these bars falling apart!

Cranberry Coconut Granola Bars

Toasting the oat mix.

Adding the sugar to the oats.

Adding the sugar to the oats.

Finished bars - crunchy and sweet!

Finished bars – crunchy and sweet!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 light brown sugar

2 TBSP butter

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup dried cranberries

 

Directions:

  1. Spray a 9×13″ pan with non-stick spray, set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread oats, coconut and almonds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently to achieve even browning. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 300°F.
  2. As the oat mix is baking combine corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, salt and vanilla in a large pot. Cook until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Remove toasted oat mix from oven and pour into pot of sugar syrup, add cranberries and stir well until mix it coated.
  4. Pour granola into prepared pan and press down. Bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees. Allow to cool, then cut into squares or rectangles.

Tips:

  • This recipe will create very crunchy granola bars. I made the first batch in a 9×9″ pan and they turned out a little too thick and hard to bite through. Keeping the bars at 1/2 inch thickness will create a better end product.
  • To make cutting easier score the bars when the pan is mostly cooled, but not completely cold.
  • Coconut can be left out for those who don’t like it. I’d suggest using 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in it’s place; or 1 cup of Rice Krispies cereal.
  • Store granola bars in an air-tight container.

 

Recipe for Hot Fudge!

hot fudge sauce

You want some hot fudge? Do you have 15 minutes? You can make your own at home–you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry right now!

This recipe is adapted from one I found on All Recipes called Sue’s Hot Fudge Sauce. It’s an easy way to make hot fudge that uses cocoa powder instead of baking chocolate. I have modified the recipe a little from the original because it was so super sweet – I added a little salt to balance the sweetness and some more cocoa powder. Be sure to use a big enough pot – you don’t want to get burned or have a mess from boiling over the pot. I’d also recommend using an immersion blender in the pot instead of transferring the hot sauce to a standard blender. Much safer and less clean-up!

Have I convinced you that you can make your own hot fudge at home? If you try is share your results in the comments section. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 cups white sugar

1 (12 ounce) can of evaporated milk

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except vanilla extract in a large pot. Cook on medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Whisk continuously as it boils, for 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Blend in the pot with an immersion blender (stick blender) or transfer to a standard blender and blend for 4 minutes.

Tips:

  • Serve hot over vanilla ice cream! or make brownie sundaes!
  • Yield is approximately 4 cups.
  • Refrigerate unused portion. Leftovers may be grainy, but will smooth out when heated and stirred.
  • Reheat in small batches in the microwave.
  • Can be used as a chocolate fondue with fresh fruit, pound cake and pretzels.
hot fudge

Bring it up to a boil and be careful! Mine almost boiled over as you can see. I had to keep whisking to prevent a huge mess. Bigger pot next time!

 

hot fudge sauce

Using an immersion blender to smooth it out. If you don’t have a blender, or don’t want the hassle, it will probably be fine without blending. Just makes it extra smooth and nice!

hot fudge sauce

And the payoff! So delicious over vanilla ice cream. It would also make a great chocolate fondue dipping sauce!

Hash Browns from Scratch

Have you tried to make hash browns from fresh potatoes and ended up with a big gluey

mess?  Here are some tips to make them turn out right!

  1. Wash the potatoes and pat dry
  2. Fill a large bowl with cold water and a teaspoon of lemon juice
  3. Working in batches, grate the potatoes, either by hand or with a food processor
  4. Place grated potatoes into the water as you continue to work. This helps to wash away excess starch. The lemon juice prevents them from turning black.
  5. Once finished grating, line a rimmed cookie sheet with paper towels or a clean dish towel
  6. Drain grated potatoes in a colander
  7. Spread out on the baking sheet and blot the top with additional paper or cloth towels

    Pat them dry to help remove excess moisture.

  8. Heat several tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet
  9. Add potatoes in a thin layer (no more than 1/2 inch deep)
  10. Cook on medium-high heat until browned, about 8-10 minutes

    Yummy! Crispy and not mushy or gluey.

  11. Turn once and cook a few minutes more, until bottom is browned slightly
  12. Season with salt and pepper to taste